Cross Cultural Misunderstanding

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FACT SHEET Cross-cultural communication

Working for our future – today

Cross-cultural communication
Everybody has the right to express his or her culture and beliefs. This fact sheet is a simple guide to help you in communicating with people from other cultures.

Multiculturalism on the Gold Coast
One in four Gold Coast residents was born overseas (2006 Census) and 8.7 % of our community speaks a language other than English. After English, the most frequently spoken language at home is Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects), followed by Japanese, Italian, German, Korean and Spanish. This reflects the changes that have occurred in our city over the past 20 years through overseas and interstate migration. Our city also is a popular international holiday destination, with about 841,000 international visitors between September 2006 and September 2007. For further information on the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Gold Coast community, please view the social profile document at: www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/t_standard.aspx?pid=6634

Avoid cultural misunderstanding
Cultural differences can sometimes lead to misunderstanding in the community or the workplace. Misunderstandings can occur around the simplest things, such as: n n n n n n n

food language greetings gestures facial expressions eye contact touching

n n n n n n

pointing self expression privacy male and female roles punctuality religion

Helpful communication tips
When dealing with any person, it is important to recognise difficulties they may have in understanding you and the message you are conveying. Some techniques for clearer communication include: n n n n n n n n n n

speaking slowly using short, simple sentences paraphrasing avoiding slang, jargon, jokes, irony or sarcasm demonstrating when giving explanations giving instructions in the order they are to be carried out avoiding double negatives showing understanding and patience avoiding raised voices...
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